Matt Martin has been a main stay of the NY Islanders for a long, long time. When the Islanders first drafted Martin in the fifth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, they knew the player they would be getting. Over the course of his time on the Islanders, Martin established himself as a prominent force on the fourth line. Along with his linemates Casey Cizikas, and Cal Clutterbuck, the identity line was once known as the best fourth line in the NHL.
In the early part of last season, we saw a lot of rumors circulating and fans saying that Martin could, and should, be traded. Martin is 33 years old and it's safe to say his best days on the ice could be behind him, but that doesn't mean he's not still a valuable asset. The trade deadline came and left, and Martin and the entire fourth line remained together.
On January 11, 2021, Matt Martin signed a $6 million dollar contract extension to remain an Islander for the next four years. This was met with a lot of hesitancy by the fans, and rightfully so. Especially with the impending decision on Islanders star center, Mathew Barzal, this was a puzzling extension by the Islanders, especially considering Ross Johnston is about to start year one of his new four-year extension.
Martin is far from a bad hockey player. Although his best days could be behind him, he's still a force on the ice. Something that's often forgotten sifting through the plethora of obstacles the Islanders faced in 2021-22 was the fact that Martin played majority of the year with a lingering injury.
Maybe the longest summer in the last three offseasons for the Islanders has given Martin ample time to recover which could lead to a rejuvenated player. Throughout those 71 games played last season, Martin picked up just seven points tallying three goals and four assists. It's nothing to write home about, but the Windsor, Ontario native isn't relied on to help fill the net. The most points he ever had in one season came back in 2015-16 when he picked up 19 points off of 10 goals and nine assists.
Heading into next season, the Islanders could see the 2018-19 version of Martin return as one of the leagues leading hitters, throwing 275 hits, fifth most in the NHL. He'll be competing with Johnston in training camp looking to maintain his role as a member of the fourth line while also reviving the belief that he, Cizikas, and Clutterbuck are the "best fourth line" in hockey. Last season was a rocky season for just about everyone on the Islanders unless your name was Noah Dobson, Brock Nelson, or Ilya Sorokin.
Only time will tell what will happen with Martin. His contract expires next summer, as does Clutterbuck's. This certainly could be the fourth lines farewell tour. For now, Martin and the fourth line are aiming for that electricity that used to rock the Coliseum. Now, they're hoping to shake the Stable helping lead the Islanders 2022-23 revenge tour.